Deadline day dawned for students entering the competition to design and make the awards for the Timber Trades Journal Annual award ceremony and look what we have here… impressive design entries delivered by hand by Terry Molyneaux and his course technician Paul Flynn.
Students work hard all through the year so it is not just impressive that these designs were produced on their own time… after the end of year crits, after the assessments, after the exhibitions, after the tutors have worked themselves to the bone and after they have uttered the words “everyone go home!”
It’s not just impressive, it’s a bloomin* miracle…
and this particular miracle is testament to an, apparently, inextinguishable passion for teaching I find in Terry and Paul, there’s just no stopping them.. and, although they are partial to a mug of freshly brewed java now and then, I can assure you it’s not about the caffeine!
So there we are.. the designs are in, now let the deliberations begin!!
Don’t go away, it’s not over yet.. we’ll be back soon with a winning design..
*Sandie tells me I swear too much so I must use words like bloomin’ and flippin’ instead so you can blame her for the use of that sort of language… any complaints or comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
I oiled the new floor at the weekend ‘she says nonchalantly’… the new floor?!
The glorious new CHESTNUT FLOOR!!!!
You better believe it..! I mean we’re having a hard time believing it ourselves and we’re standing here staring at it.
Tom will be back from summer holidays today and I’m not sure he will recognise his own office thanks to the handy-work of Philip and Steve over the weekend.
Sweet Chestnut was Tom’s choice… and I was going to say it is an under-used timber but on reflection that’s only really in comparison with Oak, otherwise Chestnut seems to be very popular these days.. we’ve machined alot lately for interior and exterior cladding and for joinery.. and of course the local Sweet Chestnut coppiced products are very close to our hearts.. anyway.. so sweet Chestnut it is, and I LOVE it!
And I really didn’t expect it to look so rich and varied in colour… but that’s probably because we did go for an ‘all inclusive’ kind of grade where the idea is to throw nothing away if you can help it.. and we can help it!
Now for office number two…
and… the new desks!!!
I think can feel an office warming party coming on…
This handcrafted morsel made an appearance in aid of the A.Y.M.E. (the Association of Young people suffering from ME).
To say the guys here were delighted to be ‘guinea pigs’ is the epitome of understatement!
Here are the monkey cake baking sock monkey sewing culprits themselves…
ladies and gentleman, put your hands together please for the 1st Aldingbourne Guides!!!!!
So over 100 sock monkeys are now swinging their way through forests of mail to comfort, inspire and delight boys and girls who are suffering from ME, all lovingly made by the hands of these fantastic young ladies.
Well done you cheeky monkeys!!
Dad.. I mean Graham.. is very proud of what his daughter and her gang have achieved, and we are too.
Find out more about the Association of Young People with ME http://www.ayme.org.uk/ and why these girls have gone to so much trouble to help.
I don’t leave the office very often so I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity… which, I should add, arose mainly because we now have extra hands on deck… yeay!!
Our lovely Chris… and here she is
… oh please don’t look at the office!!! We are getting a make over imminently… new floor, new desks, new storage wall… everything… in our own wood!!! I’m so excited…
I scurried around the yard doing some chores… packed the dog, a google map (hmmm I wonder where the road atlas is… Augustus Farmer???) and a camera into the car and promptly skipped off down the A272.
I found (yes I actually found it first time) the Sustainability Centre in between East Meon and Clanfield It’s SO pretty round there, all rolling hills covered in forests and meadows… I can’t get over how many trees there are in Hampshire.. one section of the A272 has incredible, huge copper Beeches at the side of the road… but I digress… Sustainability Centre..
After a quick trip to the reception desk I started wandering the paths and trails until I found what I was looking for…
Hurdle making central!
Hurdle making should be an olympic sport… can you see Darren Hammerton at work here? He is leaping up and down as Hazel strips sweep through the air at a rate of knots… he uses his whole body weight to stamp down between the vertical staves until they sit tightly on top of the previous strip. Hurdles are not as flimsy and delicate as they look!
No wonder there’s not an ounce of fat on this man… he is lean (but not very mean)… although he puts it down to sardines (!) I can see a mile off that he get’s more of a workout hurdle making than I ever have on two wheels (there are plenty who will attest to that) and this is what he does from morning ’til night! It’s very impressive.
And so are the hurdles …as are the other beautiful woodland products he makes.
So that’s his day.. cut the Hazel, split the Hazel, shape the Hazel, weave the hazel, jump up and down with the Hazel.
I’m afraid I’m being flippant about something that is actually very important. Darren manages coppice – Hazel and Chestnut woodlands. He uses the timber harvested from those to create these products for use in building, landscaping, gardening. And if it wasn’t used to make all these different products then the timber would be perfect for fuel at the very least.
He’s just one person and he’s doing all of that. and ‘all of that’ is growing, naturally, out of the ground
I don’t want to bore you here and now with all the reasons why I think this is a big deal but it just is. What is exciting is there is so much room for more of this kind of industry, we have so much un-managed coppice in our part of the country and perhaps it could all be as productive as Darren’s?
If I wasn’t so decrepit I might have to consider it.. don’t laugh!! I’ve never met an unhappy coppicer… just coppicers with sore hands and sore backs who are a bit soggy around the edges and haven’t had a holiday for.. ummm years?! Take a break you guys!!!!
So I stopped bothering Darren and asking him stupid questions. We said our goodbyes through a half made hurdle destined for Broadlands and I marched off back to the car.. dog in tow.. and made my way back to the office.
I got about 1 1/2 miles.
First of all there was a joinery shop with lovely old wooden buildings like something out of The Waltons I wanted to get a picture of… do you think that hole is for the birds or the dust extraction? I don’t care, I love it.. and I love the cobwebs..
The young ( I am old remember.. he was probably in his 30’s) guy from L Scott Joinery who came out to find out why I was skulking around his workshop was very friendly.. he turned out to be a joiner who is a closet furniture maker… isn’t that just like all you woodworkers?
Harbouring thoughts of diversification in your own time ? I know you’re all doing it.. I know hurdle making Darren wants to build a viking long ship… ! did I mention he was an ambitious chap??
So, it didn’t stop with ‘The Waltons’ at L Scott Joinery
Then I started hurdle spotting.
I found this sweet but sturdy village house displaying a wealth of traditional building materials and methods… I couldn’t not stop. Hurdles? check… flint wall? check… thatch? check… waney edge cladding? check.. black painted? extra points? check.. exposed timber frame? check… shall I stop now? ok one more… handmade brick coping? check…
ok, I’m done now.
I did hurdle spotting all the way back to Cocking.
Conclusion? There aren’t enough of them. Same goes for coppicers… duh! That might of been one the dumbest things I have ever said..
On that note I shall go and get back to work on our stock list and website. Both thoroughly overdue.
Hey… (my Grandma used to scold me for that – hay is for horses.. ) in amongst leaflets at the Sustainability Centre I found there is going to be a WOOD FAIR at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park.. are any of you people going?? I’ve never come across it before…. maybe I need to get out more?
If you are desperate to have hurdles, or shakes or laths or any other lovely woodland product in your home or garden or landscape or building project just let us know and we’ll do our best to furnish you with whatever your heart desires.. or your client desire.. in wood.